Erik ten Hag has revealed Jadon Sancho was left out of the Manchester United squad against Arsenal after failing to ‘reach the highest levels’ in training.
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United fell to a 3-1 defeat at the Emirates on Sunday with Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus striking late to seal a dramatic victory for the Gunners.
The visitors were already without Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia and Mason Mount through injury with Sancho also not making the journey down to the capital.
In a damning assessment of the former Borussia Dortmund star, ten Hag explained why Sancho was left out in his post-match press conference, telling reporters: ‘On his performance on training we didn’t select him. You have to reach the level every day at Manchester United. You can make choices in the front line, so in this game he wasn’t selected.’
18-year-old Dan Gore and fellow youngster Hannibal Mejbri were handed places in the United squad ahead of Sancho on Sunday.
Sancho has not started a game for United this season, coming off the bench in each of United’s three games prior to Sunday against Wolves, Tottenham and Nottingham Forest.
The 23-year-old’s fitness levels were a concern last season with ten Hag putting him a special training programme e in Netherlands during the World Cup break, working with coaches recommended to him by his manager.
He returned to the squad in February.
Sancho has struggled to reach the heights of his Dortmund days since making the move to Old Trafford in 2021, scoring 12 goals in 82 appearances.
Anthony Martial was handed a start against Arsenal with £72million summer signing Rasmus Hojlund coming off the bench in the second half.
Ten Hag was impressed with his new signing’s debut, also praising Martial’s performance in north London.
‘I think Anthony Martial did a good game but when Hojlund came in he definitely had an impact,’ Ten Hag added. “He was a very good target.
‘It was difficult to play against him, very good movement in behind, he was close in the box with finishing, one time was very near front post and I mentioned the moment I thought it could have been a penalty.’
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